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23 October 2020

Best Canary Islands and resorts

Whether you’re looking for eternal spring, near-empty coves or traditional cuisine in mountaintop villages, the best, and quietest, Canary Island towns are just a four-hour journey from the UK
Lanzarote papagayo turquoise beach and ajaches 471968
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WhichEditorial team

To help you plan your next trip, we asked holidaymakers to rate towns and resorts in the Canary Islands they had visited in the past year.

They rated everything from the beaches and restaurants to whether the resort offered peace and quiet. 

TOWNS & RESORTS IN THE CANARY ISLANDS, AS VOTED FOR BY YOU
Resort/town (island) Beach Food and drink Scenery Peace and quiet Value for money Score
Puerto de Mogan (Gran Canaria)
85%
Playa de Santiago (La Gomera)
80%
Playa Blanca (Lanzarote)
79%
Costa Adeje (Tenerife)
78%
Los Cristianos (Tenerife)
77%
Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife)
76%
Puerto del Carmen (Lanzarote)
76%
Meloneras (Gran Canaria)
75%
Maspalomas (Gran Canaria)
74%
Puerto Rico (Gran Canaria) - -
73%
Playa del Ingles (Gran Canaria) 
72%
Costa Caleta (Fuerteventura)
70%
Costa Teguise (Lanzarote)
70%
Playa de las Americas (Tenerife)
70%
Los Gigantes (Tenerife)
69%
Corralejo (Fuerteventura)
67%
Golf del Sur (Tenerife)
67%
Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) - -

- 67%
Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife) -
59%
Using the table Only resorts/towns rated by at least 30 members are included. A dash (-) means there weren't enough responses to give a rating or price. Star ratings range from one to five.

Average hotel rate Based on data from Kayak for hotels with a star rating of three or four. Tourist attractions includes range, quality, price of historic buildings, galleries, museums, parks and city tours. Peace and quiet includes number of tourists and queues at attractions.

Score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the holiday destination.

How to find the quietest Canary Islands resorts

With year-round sunshine and lots of inviting places to enjoy a relaxing break, the Canary Islands have long been a firm favourite of UK holidaymakers. But where should you go if you want to avoid busy beaches and bustling resorts in favour of some peace and quiet?

A remarkable chunk of every island remains undiscovered. In our survey, readers rated resorts and towns in Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, Lanzarote and Tenerife, and we’ve picked out those that were rated the best for peace and quiet. 

From out-of-the-way mountain hamlets forgotten by mass tourism, to quiet coastal resorts where the emphasis is on great food, long walks and secluded coves, here’s where to stay to avoid the crowds.

Gran Canaria’s best crowd-free resort – Puerto de Mogán 85%

The harbour town of Puerto de Mogán is very pretty and made up of low-rise apartments with brightly painted window frames, picturesque bridges over the channels and flower-covered archways above its cobbled, car-free lanes.

The beach is sandy and sheltered (although, it does get busy), and backed by half a dozen local restaurants. 

If the beach gets crowded, jump in the car and explore more of the west of the island - the most remote and under-visited part of Gran Canaria.

La Gomera's best crowd-free resort – Playa de Santiago 80%

Little La Gomera is pretty, mountainous and offers up generous helpings of solitude and tranquillity. It's largely untouched by mass tourism. 

Former fishing village, Playa de Santiago is a low-key resort with black sand beaches flanked by impressive cliffs. Its calm waters are ideal for a dip, and you're guaranteed more than a couple of metres between your towel and the next.

On the beachfront, seafood is the star, with a handful of ocean-facing restaurants serving the catch of the day. 

Even more secluded are the pebbly coves of Playa de Tapahuga and Playa del Medio, a 10 minute drive from the main beach.

Lanzarote’s best crowd-free resort – Playa Blanca 79%

Situated in the south of Lanzarote, Playa Blanca is so named due to the pale, talcum powder sand of its main beach. And it reigned supreme when compared with other resorts in Lanzarote.

The resort has an undeniably upmarket feel to it, particularly at the Marina Rubicon, with its numerous al fresco eateries and swanky yachts moored on the quay.

Playa Blanca lacks the notorious party atmosphere associated with some larger Canary Island resorts, which is probably why it scored four out of five stars for peace and quiet. However, it’s still a well-known destination and its beach is rightfully very popular. Lucky then, that you can escape to the Punta del Papagayo, a nature reserve a few minutes’ drive away that is home to yet more sandy beaches, from coves to sweeping stretches.

To experience a different side of Canarian life, drive inland 10 minutes to Femes. This little hamlet with its traditional whitewashed homes scattered about the hillside is the place for some peace and quiet.

Tenerife’s best crowd-free resort – Puerto de la Cruz 76%

Tenerife has a reputation for karaoke bars and English-style pubs. But they can easily be avoided. The north of the island has long been overlooked, in part due to a lack of golden beaches, but Puerto de la Cruz makes up for this with historic charm and scenic appeal.

Its two beaches get busy, but Playa Jardín is prettier, larger and usually quieter. A half-hour drive west however leads to Icod de los Vinos, whose beach, Playa San Marcos, is off the radar of most holidaymakers.

For real peace and quiet though, don your hiking shoes and head to Parque Rural de Teno. You can drive from hamlet to hamlet tasting traditional cuisine, but the best way to explore is on foot. Walks range from gentle two-hour loops to challenging treks into the park’s ravines.

Fuerteventura's best crowd-free resort – Costa Caleta 70%

Although the oldest building in town - a Martello tower - dates all the way back to the 18th century, the original settlement is now lost among apartment complexes and restaurants.

Still, Costa Caleta is a lovely place to relax with low-rise buildings backing the wide beach. 

Water babes will be in heaven, with a calm ocean to paddle in and a Thalassotherapy centre offering a number of water-based treatments.

The other Canary Islands

Perhaps the most underrated of the Canary Islands is the island of La Palma. Beauty here doesn’t come in the form of sand in shades of gold, lapped by a turquoise ocean, but 'La Isla Bonita' (the Pretty Island) certainly lives up to its marketing moniker. La Palma is best seen on foot, with a selection of not-too-tough hikes exploring the pine trees, waterfalls and weird rock formations of the impressive Caldera de Taburiente National Park.

If it’s beaches to yourself you want, jump on a ferry to La Graciosa island. Regular boats leave from Orzola in northern Lanzarote en route to the sandy islet. It’s a rough but blissfully short journey and soon enough you find yourself in the whitewashed pueblo of Caleta de Sebo. Most visitors simply grab a seafood lunch in the harbour, but it’s worth packing your hiking boots and exploring the island. Some 700 people live here, but outside the village you’ll often have La Graciosa to yourself. Playa de las Conchas, on the north-west tip of the island, is a beautiful stretch of sand that seldom sees a holidaymaker. The only downside is that the water here can be treacherous and swimming is not recommended.

Our research

In July 2020, 1,903 Which? members completed an online survey about Canary Island towns and resorts they had visited for leisure purposes in the past year, and stayed in for at least one night. The resort score is based on a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending it. Only towns/resorts that were mentioned by at least 30 members are included.